Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Chimera

“Chimera.” Midori Kirigaya folded her hands on the medical paperwork in front of her, regarding the hapless young doctor who’d obviously drawn the short straw. “I take it you’re not referring to a fire-breathing monster with a snake for a tail.”

“Ah, no,” Dr. Oshiro admitted, winter sunlight glinting off a retreating hairline. “It’s a technical term for an individual composed of two distinct genetic sources… ahem. Right now, the important factor is that the foreign cells don’t extend beyond the cutaneous layer. Cosmetic surgery should be able to remove them… as soon as circumstances permit.”

As soon as a madman’s deathtrap is off his head, you mean. Midori kept her gaze on him, polite but unsmiling.

“In the meantime, your son’s immune system appears to consider them harmless,” Oshiro said briskly. “I know it’s alarming, and we will be monitoring the situation, but we have no reason to believe he’ll have anything wrong with him besides a few scars-”

Assuming a madman’s game doesn’t kill him. “Thank you for your concern, Doctor,” Midori cut him off, suddenly frustrated enough to want to pick up her father’s bad habits with idiots. Much of which involved a bokken. “I believe I need some time.” She gathered the pages in front of her, as if perfectly aligned sheets of medicalese were the only goal in the world. “Has anything like this happened to other players?”

“…That would be a matter of doctor-patient confidentiality, Mrs. Kirigaya.”

Not a no. And from the way his brow was just a little shinier, he was sweating.

So it’s not just my son. Something’s happening to the people in Kayaba’s NerveGear.

She wasn’t going to go so far as to believe it was magic. There had to be a reasonable, logical explanation that didn’t involve people in another world waving their hands and sprinkling in eye of newt-

In another world.

Alternate universes could exist, theoretically. Dimensions where history went differently, where humans never evolved, where the universe itself was inimical to life. It wasn’t that much of a stretch to say one universe might contact another.

In another world. I could believe in another world, if there were proof.

But maybe we have proof. “What kind of feathers are they?”

51 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Chimera

  1. So we know why people are looking closely at trapped players. Don’t know enough on Japanese culture, but most likely there will be problems with people having non-human genes. Especially if it is rats or other ‘unclean’ animals.

    And then they will figure out that the feathers do not correspond to anything on Earth…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Actually, a lot of Japanese allegedly have non-human (“divine”, oni, or youkai, which may be ontologically human, depending on belief system) ancestors, per Shinto and Buddhism.

      (Ontologically to Christians and certain Greek philosophers, any intelligent being that is made of matter, not an angel or other spirit, counts as human. But not everybody knows this. And purposeful body alteration of genetic engineering does have moral theological implications.)

      So traditionally, you would not have one dang reason to be disgusted; It would be far better than being related to untouchables or yakuza. Modernly, you might have a problem.

      So yeah, it could end up that the “bigoted” grannies from the backwoods are the ones who have an openness to the situation.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. (Ontologically to Christians and certain Greek philosophers, any intelligent being that is made of matter, not an angel or other spirit, counts as human.

        ….I am snatching this interesting bit and running off to the bunny-pile with it, because the plotbunnies want to gnaw that. And they point out that’s already Klein’s attitude in-story. 😉

        Liked by 6 people

      2. There’s a bit more than that for Christians. While man has material body, what makes them man not animal is the spirit/soul. And as the one good quote puts it in simple terms, “you are a soul, you have a body”, which is why the Nephilim/”giants” were counted as “sons of man” (despite angelic/demonic parents on one side). So it might be better to say that ontologically, any intelligent being of spirit naturally residing in a material body that matches it, is “human”.

        This is related also to the point already noted here that ontologically Christians do not think there’s any inherent physical difference between angels and demons, at least to start with (tho there may be changes later). The difference is allegiance, with angels being on God’s side, and demons being in rebellion.

        Liked by 6 people

      3. ….I am snatching this interesting bit and running off to the bunny-pile with it, because the plotbunnies want to gnaw that.

        Going to link two articles— by the same guy– about the non-homo-sapien Humans:

        https://tofspot.blogspot.com/2017/11/medieval-sf.html
        ET in the Middle Ages
        It has long been held that the medievals would have been terrified of aliens, regarded them as “demons,” and otherwise persecuted them in their religious ignorance and fanaticism, while we wise moderns would recognize them as intelligent and equivalent to humans, deserving of the same consideration as humans. The latter is a self-flattering mythos, but likely no more true than the former.

        and:
        https://m-francis.livejournal.com/84248.html
        St. Augustine and the Cynocephali

        An alert, though anonymous reader asks regarding the Dog-Heads discussed earlier:

        Could you tell us WHAT the passage from St. Augustine is? Lewis, in one of his “losing God in outer space” essays, also cites this, but gives a somewhat different summary of it.

        Ask, it is said, and you shall be answered. Ol’ Auggie discusses the dog-heads, as well as other monstrous races, in The City of God, Chap. 16, Book 8. And he writes just as you would expect one of those religious nuts to write:

        Whether Certain Monstrous Races of Men are Derived from the Stock of Adam or Noah’s Sons.

        Might trip the spam filter…..

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Actually, the main reason people are looking crosswise at the trapped players hasn’t shown up yet. *EG*

      The doctors in this case are more up against, “How the heck did this even happen?” combined with a lot of orders from the Taskforce to not give out information. Kikuoka Seijirou is a very quietly scary person with his teeth in what is turning out to be a fantastic conspiracy, and he is determined to unravel the potential costs and benefits to Japan before enough rumors can spread to terrify the public.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting logic. Magic = Fantasy = DNE. Sci-fi, however — looking at you, cellphones! — //can// exist, therefor “If magic cannot be involved it must be mad science run amuck!”

    …if only.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Unfortunately common. I’ve mentioned before the discussion about one crossover fanfic I was reading, between Worm and LotR, where one reader was arguing quite seriously “LotR uses the word ‘magic’, therefore everything in it is fake and impossible, but Worm uses the word ‘science’, therefore everything in it must be possible and real”.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Oh gods, don’t even get me started on the complete horses#!% that is Wildbow’s conception of “science”, or I might never stop.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. More along the lines of, “I am not going to believe somebody just waved their hands and Thing Happened without a heck of a lot of proof. However. Does DNA match any known thing on earth? If not, we have evidence for either genetic engineering beyond the current known state of the art, or Something Else.”

      AKA, Magic, Science, doesn’t matter. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. AKA, Magic, Science, doesn’t matter. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

        I debate only the word-choice in that last part.

        As a character from the ancient, pre-Windows 95 game, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, once said: “Evidence is easy, you’re surrounded by it. Proof, now that’s hard.”

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Yeah. And then comes the question of “what sort of proof?” The scientific method requires replication of conditions to ensure results are consistent so long as conditions are. You can’t “scientifically prove” someone murdered some other specific person, because you can’t replicate the event. That’s where you bring in the forensic method, or the legal method, and forensically or legally prove it. Etc.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, that’s gonna set the cockatrice among the chickens…

    Makes me wonder how any wings are going to manifest, and if the darkfire Kirito helped Dynamm (I think?) transform with had any… outside effects…

    *hanging on the edge of my seat*

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Oops, sorry 🙈

        As you stated further up, the main reason the Task Force is looking at the players cross-eyed hasn’t shown up yet.
        If Beniryuu wants to yank the players physically into Aincrad, getting a bunch of near-skeletal invalids in severe need of care and rehab would not help Aincrad. A noticeable lack of muscle atrophy in comatose players might a) be in Beniryuu’s best interest, and b) explain the Task Force‘s collective „huh?!“. Based on past SAO fics of yours…

        Advanced medical treatment, check. Bioengineering via nanites, check.
        Magic? …why not? 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks.

    Re: Comments

    For my SAO/Castlevania bunnies, I think I may need to figure what monsters are theologically human, and what monsters are not, and why. Yes, even if the reincarnation requires that the hardness with which religion is handled be fairly soft from a Christian perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ve heard that Augustine is more influential within the Western Church than the Eastern Church. So a part of my mind is wanting to know more about the teachings of the Romanian Orthodox church, and the earlier Eastern Church.

        The reader isn’t going to come for a sermon, because that’s not what I’ll be advertising. But some amount of research and thought about this is appropriate. Same as how the prep work for moderately hard sci fi includes some study and thought about the relevant known physics. If I have a coherent picture in my mind, I know how I can deviate and still be plausible entertainment. If I’m confused about whether Hakuouki’s furies count as human, I will throw the reader out of the story.

        I’ve never heard of a mainstream Christian teaching that methamphetamine or seriously damaging brain surgery voided humanity. Which means that some of the remaining open questions are ones that involve imaginary mystical effects tied to my world building.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You don’t have to give them a sermon, but you’ll write better if you’ve got it straight in your mind?

        Plus, it’s just fun to play with the ideas.

        I’ve never heard of a mainstream Christian teaching that methamphetamine or seriously damaging brain surgery voided humanity.

        None I’ve run into– because, as best I can phrase it, something being broken doesn’t change what it is. If I have a vase, and break it, it’s still a vase– it just can’t the things that an unbroken vase can do.

        I think it’s related to the idea of an essential nature, which was IIRC Plato?

        There are a couple of different shows with names like “light of the East” that might help you find what you want.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One thing you could do for the monsters(especially if you’re using tv canon and they’re forged), is that they’re less bodies, and more corpses controlled by the demons. So, possessed, not incarnated.

      So, on one hand, monsters that used to be human, even if they changed, that still have a human soul could be considered such(how many of them would consider themselves human, would, I imagine, be somewhat lower)

      Though now my brain is picking over comparing the forged demons to drones and figuring how how someone could hack the signal.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. But can a human soul be turned into a demon? Part way turned? If I say yes for this story, I have to draw the line between changed but still human, and dead and no longer human.

        Which has possibilities for the scenario of Sachi and Keita still being ‘alive’, and Sachi being willing to tear out Keita’s liver. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Though now my brain is picking over comparing the forged demons to drones and figuring how how someone could hack the signal.

        Isn’t that basically what Angel the ensouled vampire did when he got a corpse-hopping demon to jump into him– at which point the vampire-demon ate it?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Short answer: “no”.
        Demons/angels are an entirely different sort of entity from humans (not just “spirit without body”, but instead an actually different type of creature, with different traits and limitations), and human souls don’t “turn into” them. However, this doesn’t mean that human souls can’t be evil and actively choose to rebel against God (the difference between angels and demons).

        Second answer: “this has to be part of what makes it AU from reality”.
        A large part of the injunction against witchcraft (specifically what we’d now call necromancy or similar categories) could be summed up as “the human soul moves on when the body dies, and only God has the power to bring it back. Anyone claiming that power for themselves is actively rebelling against God, claiming to have power that is only His, or is being manipulated/deceived by some other entity (demon, most likely) which is making such a claim.” For the sake of fantasy, as noted earlier about reincarnation, this particular aspect would need modified.
        Note, however, that the spirit of a dead human coming back didn’t require that person become a demon. In the case of the King Saul visiting the Witch of Endor and asking her to contact Samuel, God sent Samuel back to tell Saul “you broke the rules, you’re in trouble”, because that was within God’s power to do. It had nothing to do with Samuel’s soul (he didn’t have the power), or the Witch (she was scared out of her mind when it happened, because she was a con artist faking these things, normally, but recognized that time as “the real thing”), nor was there a demon involved.
        Assuming you adjust the setting to say “souls can come back (even if only under certain circumstances)”, then there’s no inherent need for them to “turn part demon”. Unless you make that part of the “certain circumstances”.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Magic vs. Science. is something that will be a difference in mentality between SAO-Earth and Eberron.

    For SAO-Earth (and RL) the word ‘magic’ has more or less become something to indicate that X arbitrary event occurs for absolutely no reason. As the meme goes: It’s magic, I don’t gotta explain ****.

    Whereas Science, while you might not know/understand the principles behind why X event occurred, but there are solid and very real laws and reasons that caused the event to occur,

    In Ebberon however, while there aren’t that many people studying magic, the word refers to the usage and manipulation of a very real ‘energy field’ that people can use to manipulate the world around them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would argue that modern usage is better described by:
      “It’s magic, I can break the rules I just explained and everyone’ll laugh at you if you call me out on it” vs “It’s science, that means it makes sense even if I can’t explain it, so I don’t have to even try to explain it. at least, as long as I throw in some tech-y sounding words occasionally”.

      “Science” has become the new (and hypocritical) version of the “it’s magic” meme, just under a different name.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s the thing with language and culture. Sometimes it can be incredibly flexible and others they can be extremely stubborn about everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *raises hand*

        That’s me!

        If you can get a predictable effect from a set action, then it’s not magic.

        Magic is begging some Random Beeping Power to do something you want– this is just an effect we don’t know enough about.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. While historically, it was the opposite. Magic is something that happens consistently, but takes magi (wise/knowledgeable men) to understand. Even if that consistency is “make the right request in the right format of the Random Powerful Entity, and you get a known result”. They just didn’t rule out “there might be Random Powerful Entities that can be dealt with” as a starting premise (look at people like Dawkins, who claim “we won’t even consider the possibility of something ‘supernatural’, because we define ‘supernatural’ as ‘unreal’, and ‘unreal’ as ‘inherently cannot be studied'”). It wasn’t that they thought that Random Powerful Entities were the only valid answer, but instead that they didn’t have enough information for an alternative answer to pass Occam’s Razor or its equivalents, and they hadn’t preemptively denied the possibility.

        And really, most current stuff fits that description too, if you look at it from a different angle. Ask the mighty Google your question, and get an answer you might have needed weeks of searching for on your own, but be careful that you don’t ask the question in the wrong way or your answer may be quite different from what you needed. Call the restaurant, and have food delivered to you at home for a small sacrifice of money. Etc.

        Why does something predictable have to inherently not involve some powerful entity being involved? What sort of “power” counts? Politics is reasonably predictable, largely because it involves powerful entities being dealt with by lesser entities. Lots of other fields can be described that way too if we try, and again are predictable _because_ of “powerful entities” (within the limits of the field) being involved. Lots of fields lose predictability when there _isn’t_ a powerful entity running things.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “I take it you’re not referring to a fire-breathing monster with a snake for a tail.”

    Not impossible.

    From my understanding, some D&D settings have quite the critter collection.

    Through if Kirito was open to getting adopted as a youkai, he would probably pick Stheno. Not acceptable to him at the moment but down the road, after he can get back to his family or they can get to him, who knows. So snakes for hair instead of a tail?

    Cosmetic surgery should be able to remove them… as soon as circumstances permit.”

    Assuming it stays cosmetic level.

    Assuming Kazuto even wants it removed. Or could even tolerate it – given the . . . everything . . . that happened, I doubt Kirito will be enthusiastic about being knocked unconscious by strangers.

    Assuming his parents give anyone permission to operate on their son.

    Big assumptions there.

    Much of which involved a bokken.

    That can be very effective, in the right hands.

    Kamiya Kaoru found it very handy for student, rurouni, and rooster-wrangling.

    There had to be a reasonable, logical explanation that didn’t involve people in another world waving their hands and sprinkling in eye of newt-

    Unfortunately, magic IS the reasonable, logical explanation.

    Scary thought, that is.

    But maybe we have proof. “What kind of feathers are they?”

    They aren’t going to like that question.

    Because I’m pretty sure the answer is “I don’t know.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, if we’re going for them being like fuzzy little velociraptors, it would be more “this answer doesn’t make sense” then I don’t know. Given there’s some really, really neat genetic stuff they’re doing, if they get it to the right group, oooh, nice. Plus, technically they’re still all birds, just some are currently extinct here.

      Though, this makes me wonder what genetics would find on their version of humans. A lot of modern people are actually mixes of different homid species(Not just the Neanderthals, currently they’re looking at possibly four different ones!) Yet in Ebberon, you would have a lot more noise on the genetic level. On the evil side, this may mean that people in our world that have different ancestry might find it activating in odd ways when they get to Ebberon, even without chosing a bloodstone.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. A quick Google says people have reconstructed ancestral DNA for birds and crocodiles, so. 🙂

        As for Eberron near-human races – my money’s on them having a lot more of various hominid species’ DNA than modern Earth humans. With a few odd extras no one’s seen on Earth. (Green skin? Infravision? Huh?)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Though, this makes me wonder what genetics would find on their version of humans.

        *glee*
        This is a pet Nifty Idea, honestly– ever since I was a kid and found out then-current science insisted that coyotes and dogs couldn’t cross (when I knew they could; has since corrected) the idea of humans that aren’t normal Vanilla humans.
        *************

        Is a little screwed up by my modern viewpoint of if we were freely intercrossing all the bleepin’ time, we’re just different strains,not different species. It’s not quite but almost as dumb as the century and a half back idea that “African” and “British” and “Germanic” and “French” and I know I’m using the wrong, modern names for half of them but I don’t much care were all different “races.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Chimeras do exist in Eberron. 🙂

      And you predict correctly that Kazuto will have low tolerance for being messed with. So will his mother – I see her as being quite adamant that nobody touches the feathers unless her son says so, he’s had enough loss of control already.

      *G* Well, forces currently unknown to modern science are the explanation. And while the average biologist wouldn’t have an answer, Midori knows some interesting people. I can see a very thrilled avian and crocodile specialist bringing in loads of info on “well this does look like a bird, but it’d have teeth, and these other genes say archosaur….”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chimeras do exist in Eberron.

        Of course they do.

        …he’s had enough loss of control already.

        Understandably so.

        Likely, he will not be the only survivor with similar control issues.

        Hopefully the doctors and others learn that quick. Otherwise someone is going to get hurt.

        . . .Midori knows some interesting people.

        Clearly.

        Hopefully open-minded, because it is going to be weird. (Of course, a lot of scientists relish “something weird” because it might be something new or that otherwise requires a lot of Science! to figure out . . . must careful, some of those scientist cannot resist the urge to poke things that maybe they shouldn’t)

        “well this does look like a bird, but it’d have teeth, and these other genes say archosaur….”

        I can see someone going “That just raises further questions!”

        Especially once she tells said specialist where she got the feather.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *looks at post-many-pregnancy-self* Chimeras exist here, too. And are good for the chimera, as best we can tell.

        While my kids are awesome, even the poor boy who got my and dad’s hair isn’t really feather-fluffy.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of my favorite things about reading science daily is all the “Ooooh, neat!” stuff they come up with on the latest genetic research and homid studies. Well, and pretty much a lot of the neat science stuff, but yes, species is a pretty fluid term. Even more so when you get to neat stuff like ring species and the like. I think the new definitions still need time to percolate out, though.

        And congrats on your multi chimeras status. Just remember the new brain cells take about 18 years to fully work out…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yep! So many shiny things– even if some of them haven’t held up well to investigation, when it’s done.
        I was kinda disappointed that every time they’ve checked ring species, it only works on the “don’t usually interbreed” or “the offspring are more likely to get eaten by predators” levels. One DNA check of…I believe it was the salamanders?… found that the species weren’t even as described traditionally, which is kinda cool.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “They’re alive.” Issin pressed gently where feathers were embedded in skin, then pulled back. “I heard about the Siren Sisters running into something like this. A half-giant that tried to drag passengers off a ship. It swam like a fish, even in full armor, because part of it wasn’t a giant anymore. It was elemental water. A graft.” He grimaced, and rested a hand on the top of Kirito’s head. “Hold still. I need to check that you’re still you… and you are. Good.”

    I was under the impression grafts remained distinct while chimeras were more homogeneous. I’m probably wrong; but, if not, it raises interesting questions about how changes will differ between MCO and either earth or aincrad. It brings to mind the analysis from “Waking to Another Sky” where it is theorized that, while special effects were left behind, in-game physics and attributes remain constant. Maybe in MCO it’s more leaving the game-play simplification behind but maintaining the overall effect with special effects?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Technically chimera just means 2 or more distinct genetic sources. Most of our modern examples of such that survive come from two embryos merging; that might be what you’re thinking of.

      And then of course there’s Foxfier’s example, but that’s not what usually ends up in high school bio books. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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